Ask Amy: Did woman’s disability disturb party guests, or was it her anti-vaxxer comment?

Dear Amy: I am a widower and my significant other, “Siena”, is a widow.

A long time ago, we dated in college (semi-seriously) for a few years, but “life” got in the way and we broke up.

We married other people. Both of our spouses are deceased.

Decades later, we now have a wonderful relationship.

Last year I brought Siena to my daughter’s big annual family reunion. We had a great time. We felt welcome (we thought); but this year everything has changed.

I received a text from my daughter inviting me, but not Siena, to the party.

I texted back, “What about Siena?”

She responded that some members of her husband’s family were uncomfortable with Siena’s presence.

Here’s the kicker… Siena had polio a long time ago (when she was a child), completely paralyzing both of her legs; and she uses long leg braces and aluminum forearm crutches to walk.

I was told that “some” of last year’s participants were “worried” that she would trip over the young children running around, but we don’t think that was the real reason.

At a party last year, someone asked Siena if she had been vaccinated against polio as a child. She responded that her mother would not allow her to get a polio vaccine. She described it this way: “Even back then, some people were crazy anti-vaccines. »

Obviously, there are some (or at least one) anti-vaxxers in my son-in-law’s family; and Siena’s comment must have offended one or more of them.

Or maybe they just don’t like being around people with disabilities.

We’re totally fine with not attending the party, but do you think I should discuss with my daughter the “banishment” of Siena or should I let it pass to ensure peace with the in-laws?

Siena is convinced that we (I) should let it go.

What do you think?

– Undecided

Dear undecided: You can ask your daughter for further clarification regarding banishing “Siena” from her home for this event.

(It is possible that these anti-vaccination in-laws are also too delicate, scared or offended to face the consequent reality of a world without vaccinations?)

Your daughter may not admit that one or more members of her husband’s family fall into the “crazy anti-vaccine” category, but I think it would be helpful to try to discern how much your girl is open to having a relationship with your partner.

You and Siena are together and Siena is therefore (essentially) becoming part of your daughter’s family. The same dynamic that drives you to want to keep peace with your in-laws also extends to your daughter, who needs to show kindness to your partner.

After asking this question, you should listen to your daughter and, assuming she doesn’t provide a satisfactory answer, you and Siena should stay home together that day and then, yes, let it go.

You can email Amy Dickinson at or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter. @askingamy or Facebook.

©2024 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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